The state capital of New South Wales and the Australia's most populous city, Sydney is home to wonderful weather, world class attractions, beautiful coastlines, and everything else you would want in a choice metropolitan destination.
Packed with so much things to see, there's never enough time to properly explore Sydney. The laid back atmosphere and fun, tourist-friendly vibe carries over to everything in Sydney so it's easy to mix in with the crowds and see what the city has to offer.
Check out the beaches that litter Australia's eastern coast and surf the waves in Bondi in true Aussie fashion. Take hikes and explore the many gardens and nature spots that are available for free. Historic buildings and iconic monuments also await travellers looking to get the most out of their trip. Public transport is easy and efficient in Sydney so getting around won't be a problem. Trains, buses and ferries will take you to your next destination on time and without hassle, so it's probably best to not rent a car and drive on your own especially if you're not used to right-hand drive cars and Australian road rules and regulations.
Being that it is a melting pot of cultures, Sydney is home to cuisines from all over the world. It can however get expensive for foodies (and for travellers in general) mainly because cost of living in Sydney is among the highest in the world.
Plan your trip wisely and give yourself ample time to really get around and immerse yourself in Sydney because there is definitely a lot to see. The vibrant city life, easygoing people, and closeness to nature make it easy to see why Sydney is a city that's easy to fall in love with.
Within the city, you’ll find a number of interesting spots that are close to each other – Central Sydney, Darling Harbour, Hyde Park, Circular Quay and The Rocks among others. The best way to explore is on foot.
This iconic Queen Victoria Building houses many fashion boutiques, jewelry shops and chic restaurants and cafés. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea while you marvel at the beautiful Romanesque interiors.
Head here if you want a colorful mix of Asian culture and food. Market city is located right in the heart of Chinatown and is home to factory outlets and Paddy’s Market where you can buy a variety of things – from clothes, wigs, and sunglasses to souvenirs and jewelry. Also make sure to try the freshly made Emperor’s puffs near the friendship arch.
Centrally located downtown, this main station is your hub for trains and buses that go to places outside the city - Canberra Region, Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley etc. and trains that go interstate.
A popular spot for lunch breaks and afternoon strolls, Hyde Park is centrally located and is a perfect break from the busyness of the city. St. Mary’s Cathedral and Hyde Park Barracks Museum are just opposite to the park.
Offers stunning 360 degree views of Sydney and its famous landmarks.
Royal Botanic Garden
A visit to Sydney isn’t complete without visiting this quiet and beautiful garden rich in plant species from all over the world.
Sydney’s main ferry hub where you can travel to a lot of tourists’ destinations including Manly, Taronga Zoo, Cockatoo Island, Watsons bay and Barangaroo.
This area has great options for restaurants, cafes, and shops with a wide range of Australian-made products and souvenirs. Shop, eat, drink and marvel at the beautiful view of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
Walk the cobblestoned streets and wander within the old heritage architecture buildings to discover The Rocks’ storied convict past . Check out the weekend market and have a drink or two in one of the historic pubs with the locals. You’ll find The Rocks just between Circular Quay and Walsh Bay.
Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Sydney's most iconic landmark.
A funky and quirky suburb just a few stops from central station, this is a great place to spend the whole afternoon going through the shops and eating at any type of cuisine you could think of – Lebanese, Thai, Nepalese, and Turkish are just a few of the many cuisines represented around the area. Popular among the younger generation, Newtown is colorful and has a lively atmosphere. There are a number of vintage clothing shops and high-end retro stores to visit, too.
How to get there: Newtown Station
You’d never expect that this hard rock heavy metal joint would be a great restaurant with burgers as their specialty. A popular bar in Newtown, this restaurant is sort of hidden and you have to look for the graffiti-laden wall that leads you to a door with a small logo of Mary’s. A bit pricey but overall great tasting burgers and fries with friendly and helpful staff.
Hakiki serves a lot of mouth watering Turkish desserts. They say that they serve the BEST ice cream in Sydney. The chewiest and creamiest ice cream we’ve ever tasted. I think they’re right. Highly recommended!
Arguably the most famous beach in Australia, it’s popular with locals and tourists all year round. The beach offers gentle waves and surprisingly fine sand. Take a dip in the water, relax on the sand or have a yummy snack by the boardwalk. Spend the whole day exploring this interesting and fun part of Sydney.
How to get there: From Bondi Junction Station, take buses: 380, 333, 381, 382
Newport offers a lot of golden sandy beaches and is rarely crowded. Since it’s situated in a residential area, these northern beaches are quiet and much more relaxed compared to the tourist beach attractions.
The Newport has several bars and food outlets to choose from. You’ll see a lot of families here mostly residents from the Newport area.
At the tip of Sydney's northern beaches is Palm Beach, a beautiful beach with back-to-back coastlines, one for surfing and the other for boating and swimming. Hike the trail to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for spectacular coastal views.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a former ship building dockyard located in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Discover and learn more of the island’s fascinating industrial, maritime and convict past. It’s open every day and free to explore.
How to get there: Take a public ferry from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour or Barangaroo.
Head an hour or so outside the city for a peaceful escape. Generally, the area has a cooler climate all year and offers visitors lush green sceneries and nature walks. Go to echo point for a great view of the Three Sisters and dine in one of the restaurants in the nearby area of Leura.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Great vibes and good food are offered to both young and old. A camera-ready and fantastic venue, people can’t take just one perfect selfie for their Instagram. Come here on an empty stomach because there are many different food options to choose from. Expect this place to be crowded not just on weekends.
How to get there: Green Square Station, Exit at Bourke Road. Follow Bourke Road down for around 1km and The Grounds of Alexandria will be to your right.
The easiest way to use public transport in Sydney is with an Opal Card. It can be used on all suburban and intercity trains, light rail, ferries and buses. You can purchase it in pop up kiosks at train stations, 7-Eleven stores, and Woolworths supermarkets. Take advantage of the cheaper fares during Sundays!
Sydney offers a fantastic calendar of major events which caters to all tastes and interests whatever time of the year you visit – Vivid, Art exhibits, Film Festivals, regional events and so much more. Click on the link below to know more about these events so you can plan your trip accordingly.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Vivid Sydney – the world’s largest festival of lights, music and ideas.
Biennale of Sydney
Australia’s leading contemporary art event that are located in different parts of Sydney.
Save yourself a trip to the Australian Embassy and easily apply for a visa online through this site. Accepts payments through credit card.
Photos property of Livph